WALK THE WALK
Gary Vaynerchuk is the
chairman and CEO of VaynerX
and VaynerMedia, a full-service
digital media agency based in
Ne w York City.
Why I Can’t Stop Starting
Once you’ve mastered the
fundamentals, your passion will
lead you to the next venture
A metaphor I constantly return to is “You have
to have the steak before you can have the sides.”
I wouldn’t be partnering to release my own
sneaker or building a sports agency or thinking
about acquiring or launching other publishing
companies if I didn’t have VaynerMedia as a base.
Having a successful foundation allows me to do
more. A lot of people, when they reach this level,
start having other wants and needs, whether
it’s sailing or buying a third home or meditating.
Me, I’m hungry to build. Can’t help it.
From the outside, it may not seem like all of my
endeavors connect. But if you look closer, you’ll
see I’m always trying to hack culture by studying
consumer activity and understanding where,
why, and how people buy and sell. I always try
to remain relevant, and gather as much information
as possible to then move into new things.
At this point, I believe I understand the fundamental aspects of launching a business well enough
that I could launch anything. If you already own
one company and are looking to start another, you
have to frst master these fundamentals: a great
team, customer service, sales, and marketing.
But you should start a business only if you believe
in it. So many people sell products and services
they don’t believe in and ultimately come up
short. How can you expect to labor day in and
day out for something you personally hate? It
just won’t work.
My serial entrepreneurship is largely a product of observing and reacting. More than a
decade ago, I saw that social media was going to be the zeitgeist for human connection—a new
way to storytell and build relationships. That’s why I started VaynerMedia, as a reaction
to that reality and an insight into the market. It’s the same way Snapchat became huge. Evan
Spiegel and Bobby Murphy observed that individuals like selfes, and they created a service
around that idea. They reacted to a consumer phenomenon, and built their product into the
established vertical of communication. Any entrepreneur can and should do this.
I have a macro vision of “build more.” Build as much as I possibly can. Build, get bigger, bigger,
bigger, and eventually have more opportunities to leverage, leverage, leverage. At the most micro,
I’m never fully romantic or all in on anything. Everything is being audited every day. I’m very
comfortable with the notion that, even though I built VaynerMedia as a communications company,
if tomorrow I see an incredible opportunity in seashells or cryptocurrency, I won’t hesitate to
change my mind. I will react to it, as any good entrepreneur should.
So, keep everything on notice, especially your assumptions.
I’M AT AN INCREDIBLY INTERESTING point in my life. I’ve built multiple businesses from the ground up, starting in the late ’90s with one of the frst e-commerce platforms for wine. That helped me grow my family’s business from $3 million to $60 million in sales in less than fve years. I’m an author, an investor, and a speaker, and I run one of the fastest-growing full-service media agencies in the world. Under my holdings company, VaynerX, I own VaynerMedia and Pure Wow and additional businesses, including my sports agency, VaynerSports, all while managing and growing my personal brand. So call me a serial entrepreneur. If you want to start
multiple businesses, here’s something to keep in mind: You have to be
self-aware. The problem with chasing multiple ideas without having
a concrete base is that you get stretched thin. You don’t see things all
the way through. You become half-in across fve businesses instead
of all in on one, which would have been more successful.
BUILD WIN TER 2017/2018 - INC. - 67